Thursday 21 March 2013

Faulty Towers Dining Experience @ The Charing Cross Hotel

Tired from a long day at work, I was looking forward to a relaxing meal at the Charing Cross Hotel served by the kind folk of Faulty Towers.  Unfortunately, I can only describe the evening as an utterly chaotic farce. 

We were first greeted by Mr Basil Faulty who, rather than putting the dinner guests at ease, was a rather inhospitable host as he viewed us all with disdain.  Greater than his dislike for the guests, however, was his dislike for the Spanish waiter Manuel as the arguing commenced almost immediately.  Behind closed doors this may have been more acceptable as Mr Faulty was training the waiter, but to argue with the poor man in front of the guests was a disgrace.  This soon escalated to violence, which was most unprofessional.

At time Mr Faulty was an attentive host – on asking where the bathroom was he politely showed my partner the way, but she did not need to be followed directly to the door.  The host even stole my bottle of wine from the table at one point and refused to return it without seeing my ID, something I took as a personal insult.  One guest was singled out as being of Germanic descent and later accused of being “riff raff”.  Most of all, Mr Faulty was too preoccupied with the horse race he had bet on than actually serving the dinner and it even appeared that he had stolen the money from his wife – despicable behaviour.  The extent of Mr Faulty’s hospitality was accusing the guests of being “arses” and “miserable London layabouts”, language I was utterly shocked to hear barked at the dining room.

Mr Faulty’s wife Sybil (or “the Dragon” as he not so affectionately named her) was a far more attentive host, greeting us with a warm smile beneath her immaculate hairdo.  That said, she was rather preoccupied with some Italian gentlemen on another table and was adamant at playing the matchmaker, a feat that was rather interfering.  Her singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ was well meant and a kind offering, but her nasal, warbling voice remained painful on the ears.

As mentioned, our waiter for the evening was Manuel who proved rather inept.  Before we had even begun, much of the cutlery and crockery was misplaced or simply missing altogether.  Once dinner service began, the entertainment truly started.  Bread rolls were thrown on tables, water was poured from jugs and missed the glasses considerably, garnish was dropped on our laps before our soup had even arrived (indeed the serving order was erratic), and Manuel even performed gymnastics on the floor (I did chuckle at his misinterpretation of ‘roll’, but alas I remained hungry whilst waiting for the bread to arrive).  Following the first course, we were expected to stack our own bowls (incredulous!) and what followed was a terrible calamity from the kitchens.  Sybil was most attentive to a lactose intolerant guest at our table, but elsewhere a vegetarian was served raw vegetables!  Mr Faulty insulted the poor waiter as a “continental cretin”, but sadly my agreement couldn’t be helped.

When one is served soup, one does not expect to find the chef’s dentures floating inside the bowl.  Alas, such an outrageous event did occur to the unsuspecting lady sat beside me, leaving me rather reluctant to finish my own bowl, though hunger soon took over.  Manuel proceeded to stand on the tables at a later point, though his song was a wonderful little ditty.  Elsewhere, spiders were discovered between the windows (where Manuel was laughably locked out), and a pair of ladies underwear was discovered beneath one of the tables!  If that were not bad enough, Manuel introduced us to what he thought was a pet hamster, but in fact it was a rat he had found in the hotel.  When said rat escaped it caused panic amongst guests and hosts alike and just proved the level of cleanliness at this establishment.  The hotel inspectors simply must be informed.

In all, this evening from Faulty Towers was an absolutely calamitous pantomime.  The levels of service and cleanliness were well below par and hospitality was clearly low on Mr Faulty’s agenda (beneath gambling I’m sure).  I left the dinner feeling most exhausted – largely because I couldn't help but guffaw loudly at the hilarity of it all.  This was a most enjoyable evening – for all the wrong reasons.

Would I stay again?  Absolutely.


The soup starter - thankfully minus dentures

The chicken main

The cheesecake - after I'd scoffed it.